As a Public Health Nurse, and mother myself, I will be the first to admit having a new baby arrive in the family can come with mixed emotions. With all the love and excitement babies bring, new parents can also feel stressed, anxious, exhausted, and sad.
It’s often hard to know if your feelings are normal, who to speak to, and where to get help. Many times parents struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mood concerns are embarrassed to get help, so they hide their feelings hoping things will get better.
Toronto Public Health is taking the steps to help support the mental health of new and expecting parents.
The Perinatal Mental Health Program at Toronto Public Health has Public Health Nurses routinely checking in with parents who receive our services to assess their mood. Nurses use two valid screening questionnaires called the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to assess how clients are feeling.
Based on the scores of these tools parents can:
- receive assessment and ongoing one-to-one support from a Public Health Nurse
- be referred to partner agencies who help parents that are struggling with mood
- access hospital programs around depression and anxiety
- join community support groups lead by nurses and social workers
We want to give babies, children, and parents in Toronto the best possible start. Mental health and well-being is so important in the parenting journey and in the healthy growth and development of infants and children.
Don’t wait and wonder if your feelings of sadness, anxiety, and low energy are normal or going to disappear on their own!
You are not alone – Get support!
Connect with our Public Health Nurse via eChat or by calling (416) 338-7600.